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RCN continues equality and diversity reforms

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has announced plans for a new strategy to improve its equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) culture, as part of the recommendations from reports into the union.

RCN general secretary and chief executive Professor Pat Cullen said the EDI strategy was “crucial” to the future of the union.

“We’ve come a long way but there is still work to do”

Pat Cullen

To help build the five-year strategy, RCN members will be surveyed on their ideas and views from March and invited to join workshops.

It forms part of the RCN’s commitments to improve its culture made after reports by Bruce Carr KC and KPMG in 2022 highlighted serious shortcomings.

The Carr review was particularly damning, uncovering concerns about misogyny and racism within the college among other issues.

Speaking this week on the plans for the new strategy, Professor Cullen said: “Our strength is in our diversity, and we are wholeheartedly committed to ensuring we give members the strong, professional and genuinely representative organisation they deserve.

“We’ve come a long way but there is still work to do in making sure we are representative and inclusive of the breadth of our membership.

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“We welcome all members to bring their ideas and experience to the table to continue to help us strengthen our diverse college.”

The RCN has appointed Half the Sky, a consultancy firm, to aid the creation of the strategy.

Half the Sky director Dr Zoe Young added: “We’re delighted to be working with the RCN on an ambitious and important EDI journey.

“We’re here to facilitate the process and translate goals into actions on the ground. It’s our task to ensure this strategy makes a difference.”

The Carr report, published in October 2022, found an “inappropriate sexual culture” at RCN’s annual congress and highlighted risks of exploitation between members.

It further warned that the college was “seen by many as a bullying and misogynistic environment in which women and those from the [Black, Asian and minority ethnic] community are not welcome”.

Professor Cullen said, at the time, that the organisation would have to be overhauled.

The new five-year EDI strategy, RCN said, will set out a “vision for improvement”.

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